Okay, so I'm not gonna lie — I was pretty unimpressed with Evan McKeel, 20, during his original Blind Audition and was more than shocked that he earned a four chair turn. But the Virginia native quickly proved me wrong. When given a second chance to wow the coaches by singing the Stevie Wonder song of his choice, — is it me, or are the coaches being awfully generous this season? — McKeel blew the audience away and even brought Gwen Stefani to tears. The young artist showed a totally amazing new side to his voice, which quickly catapulted him to one of the top spots on my frontrunner list.
McKeel's young, but he's got so much potential. There's no doubt that his voice needs some work, but that's what's going to take him so far in this competition. It's always the artists who have grown the most that make it the furthest on The Voice. Look at season 8's Koryn Hawthorne — she started the season off pretty shaky, but improved week after week and eventually became one of the final four contestants standing in the finale. McKeel has all the makings to follow the same trajectory — he's young, has raw talent and seems eager to learn. The best part, though? He's on Team Pharrell.
Pharrell has a knack for turning young artists into musical icons. McKeel's sound is already unique as it is, and Pharrell is going to take it up about five more levels. Put that together with the 20-year-old's overall cuteness — come on, how could you not fall in love with a guy who sings to Alzheimer's and dementia patients in his free time?! — and McKeel really is destined to become a fan favorite in no time. Will he become Pharrell's next victory story or will he be gone before the live shows? Sure, it's pretty soon to tell, but I think we all know the answer. (Hint: it's the first one.)
Image: Paul Drinkwater/NBC